It’s only the first week of summer vacation and my daughter has already muffled the words, “Mom, I’m bored.” “How can you be bored?” I ask. “We just rode bikes to art camp with your friends, had ice cream, AND hosted a four-hour play date.”
The moment one of my kids hints those words, “I’m bored,” it drives me crazy.
I have to admit, as a work-from-home mother, I have a love/hate relationship with the summer. I love the lazy mornings. Sand under my toes. S’Mores over the fire. There are a million things I enjoy doing with my kids in the summer. From being buried in the sand to riding to Starbucks in our PJs (so our dog can get a free cup of whipped cream). We do so much together, I’ve often been called the FUN FACTORY. And it’s all good. As long as I’m not on deadline, have five loads of laundry or a ton of conference calls. Then this Summer Fun Factory gets frazzled. But on deadline-free days, it helps to have some ideas in your back pocket!
I remember this one particular summer day. We had just pulled in from a trip. The sand was still stuck to the back of my legs when my youngest started in with the mom-I’m-so-bored-isms. I responded the way moms did in the 1950’s, hoping there wouldn’t be any negative consequences. “Go play.”
But there was no one to play with on that particular day. I knew it. She knew it. Even the dog knew it. Literally, everyone was out of town. (My eldest, mind you, was happily glued to his iPad in one of the rooms where we have an obnoxious window air-conditioning unit blasting.) I was too fried to do anything special. Then, I took a look at my car. It was filthy. I knew JUST what to do. “Honey, you’re going to help mommy wash the car.” We vacuumed, wiped and shined it up. We washed the car until my daughter had a smile on her face. Mommy mission accomplished. At least for another summer day!
Other Summer Boredom Busters:
1. Go on a bike ride
It can be as simple as getting on your bikes and riding around the block together. Or head to a park with a paved path. Our town has access to the East Bay bike path, which is like a dream. Make sure to pack snacks and drinks when you venture out!
2. Grab a frozen yogurt
Rather than an ice cream, take the kids out for some frozen yogurt! If it’s too expensive to do every week, fill up an ice cube tray with some juice. In a matter of hours, the kids will be excited at what they find in the freezer.
3. Go for a swim
Nothing beats summer boredom like going for a swim. If you have the time, take the kids to the beach! If not, go to a pool! We belong to Kendbrin Swim & Tennis Club in East Providence, RI. You can also take advantage of YMCA pools. Or ask to be a guest at a friend’s pool club. As a last resort, squirt each other with a hose and you will see kids smiling in no time.
4. Turn off the TV and draw, paint or color together.
5. Have a picnic in the park.
6. Run through the sprinklers together.
7. Go to the local playground.
8. Play a round of mini-golf.
9. Hit the library. Check out the story hour or other fun activities for kids.
10. Play Uno or Go Fish in an air-conditioned room.
11. Go for a joy ride in your air-conditioned car.
12. Stop and eat at a diner a few miles from home. No adventure is ever too small when it comes to kids!
13. Host a playdate.
14. Go see a movie at the Rustic Drive-In in North Smithfield, RI.
15. Visit historical sites like Blithewood Mansion in Bristol, RI.
16. Go to the RISD museum.
17. Take the Breakers Mansion Family Tour in Newport.
18. See the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth.
19. Visit the Museum of Natural History & Planetarium in Providence.
20. Tour Fort Adams in Newport.
21. Check out the Linden Place Scavenger Hunt in Bristol.
22. Explore some local yard sales and consignment shops together.
23. If you’re brave, tour cute shops in your town like Imagine in Bristol and Smyle in East Greenwich, RI.
24. Go to a local story hour, like Island Books in Middletown, Barrington Books or Books on the Square in Providence’s Wayland Square.
25. Explore a new town every week: Historical Providence, Watch Hill, Narragansett, Newport, East Greenwich, Cranston’s Pawtuxet Village and the list goes on.
*Visit www.kidoinfo.com for some more fun summer ideas and links to places to visit in Rhode Island!
Jackie is a local writer and pr professional who blogs about her take on motherhood at www.ventingsessions.com and writes about it in her book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker.